Fiji's Prime Minister Pleads With Trump: 'Save Us' From Climate Change

World leaders try and remain steadfast on Paris Climate Deal a Trump administration threatens to pull out.

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Nov 19 2016, 8:00pm

Image: Manuel Elias/Flickr

Fiji's Prime Minister Frank Bainimarama has pleaded with Donald Trump and the American people to help save his slowly sinking nation. At this year's global climate talks in Marrakech, he said that climate change was no hoax, and invited the President-elect to come visit Fiji and see the damage first hand.

Mr. Bainimarama made his remarks on Friday, the last day of this year's Conference of the Parties, a yearly meeting where UN signatories of the Paris Climate Agreement meet to discuss and plan its implementation.

The spectre of a Trump administration and what that could mean for the climate agreement hung like a pall over the talks in Marrakech, and Mr. Bainimarama—slated to be president of next year's meeting—addressed the worry directly on the closing day of the conference. His tiny island nation of Fiji is already under serious pressure from rising seas—a product of climate change.

"I again appeal to the President-elect of the U.S. Donald Trump to show leadership on this issue by abandoning his position that man-made climate change is a hoax," he said.

"On the contrary, the global scientific consensus is that it is very real and we must act more decisively to avoid catastrophe."

The Paris Climate Agreement is the global pact agreed upon last December by almost 200 nations to try and limit global warming to a rise of 2 degrees Celsius, or 3.6 Fahrenheit. The deal gained significant credence when major carbon polluters and global superpowers like the United States and China jumped on board.

Current trends could raise the global temperature by 4 degrees Celsius, or 7.2 degrees Fahrenheit, by 2100. A change that would cause mass human suffering around the globe.

It is, to date, the most comprehensive global plan yet that tries to combat climate change, yet the election of Donald Trump as President of the United States, an outspoken climate change denier, threatens to derail the entire operation.

President-elect Trump has already pledged to pull the U.S. out of the agreement and to stop all funding to UN climate actions even as 100 other nations—including those who have voted conservative in recent times like the United Kingdom, with its exit from the European Union—have formally ratified the agreement and continue to offer their support. The UK signed the agreement during the conference's last few days.

The spectre of a Trump administration and what that could mean for the climate agreement hung like a pall over the talks in Marrakech, and Mr. Bainimarama—slated to be president of next year's meeting—addressed the worry directly on the closing day of the conference. His tiny island nation of Fiji is already under serious pressure from rising seas—a product of climate change.

Mr. Bainimarama also implored the American people to stay active and engaged on climate change, by invoking images of World War II. "We in the Pacific, in common with the whole world, look to America for the leadership and engagement and assistance on climate change just as we looked to America in the dark days of World War II."

"I say to the American people, you came to save us then, and it is time for you to help save us now."

The United States, already one of the biggest carbon polluters, could transition from being a leader in the fight against climate change, to being a major aggressor. It's already found itself in the unique position of being lectured on the topic by China, the world's other major polluter, who President-elect Trump famously declared "created" global warming as a hoax to give the U.S. an unfair trade advantage.